(reposting from an article published by The Hill on 06/28/2018)
Across the United States, Latino entrepreneurship is growing at a faster pace than small businesses owned by non-Hispanics. Yet Latino business owners face significant challenges when looking for capital and a skilled workforce.
What are leaders in government and industry doing to bridge this gap? How can barriers related to lending, training, and growth be eliminated? Hispanic millennials make up one of the youngest demographics in the nation and researchers have found that about 40 percent of Latino businesses are owned by millennials. What role can mentoring play in empowering these young entrepreneurs?
The Hill hosted last week an event convening policymakers, business owners and advocacy groups for a conversation about Hispanic small business ownership trends and the pursuit of the American dream. You can read the details here.
In the Southeast, there is very little data on the motivations and the opportunities and challenges our entrepreneurs face. Specifically, issues of lack of access to a high net-worth network (due to the specific characteristics of many first-generation immigrant adults opening businesses), lack of access to many federal assistance programs, transportation and language challenges that only work to exacerbate other known challenges nationally.
In the study we are spearheading, we are including not only “established” businesses but also entrepreneurs that may have engaged in commercial activities for years yet never incorporated with the Secretary of State. We are not studying the businesses, we are studying the business owners as creators of wealth and economic sustainability for their families and our community.
To be part of this project, we decided to include the “Cross Keys Entrepreneurship Track” comprised of high school students, the majority of Hispanic descent, to help us collect data along Buford Highway, an international corridor home of hundreds of immigrant-owned businesses.
These students, already have taken the first step to become entrepreneurs, they are learning the basics of business management.
The Georgia Latino Entrepreneurship research team, provided a class on market research and survey administration to inform the cohort on the tool and the importance of it, then, they went to canvass.
Findings of the experience will be included in the final report to be released at the end of February, yet the students mentioned specific learnings for themselves:
- Being an entrepreneur is hard work and extremely difficult
- Language is still very much a challenge for many immigrant business owners
- Business owners are often times very busy
- Financial information is key to manage a business yet many business owners struggled with the knowledge and how to apply the existing tools
- Often times, front-of-the-house staff do not have an idea on how to business is doing, this is important information for them when they become business owners, always to keep the staff informed.
Here is the survey in Spanish: http://www.NegociosLatinosGA.com
We are grateful to the Cross Keys Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative (CKSI) for their support for this project!